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Category: NEPAL
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ROYAL CHITWAN NP & 20,000 LAKES & LIST

NEPAL

Region (Compass)
Lat:00o00´S/00o00´W ha topography msl 
Protected/registered status 
January-April (03.04.1995-05.04.1995)

 

Birding Site Guide

The park is well signed and is relatively easy to reach. For accommodation there are lots of options, from cheap and basic up to luxury, and this goes for food too. One of the most expensive options and most desirable is to stay at Tiger Tops entrance. However, for the more budget minded there are other options such as Sauraha not too far from the famous Tiger Tops entrance; travel along the main Hetauda to Bharatpur and turn at the Tadi Bazar to Sauraha. After some few kilometres you will reach the river and here is where tourists are normally collected in vehicles from their pre-booked hotels. Since my group never pre-book in the firm belief we can find something cheaper on the ground, we had no-one to meet us, but we had a 4x4 and driver and we took our vehicle through the ford. Of course the park staff and hotels hate to see tourists bring their own vehicle across the ‘dangerous’ river because they are not getting the money. The same ploy is used at many national parks worldwide, great roads to the last town then a slightly uneasy last stage to make you leave any transport you have brought and hire one in the park. 

So if you are using your own vehicle in the park it will need to be a 4x4 drive, however if it is not you can hire one from the park (with guide) from the main park offices (located near the main gates). 

Just before crossing the river at Sauraha, there is another good birding area called 20,000 lakes which is well worth birding. There is also woodland on this side on the river which is worth a look. There are many options of places to stay at Sauraha, and places to eat (though all served from one large kitchen), they are well set up for tourists and it is possible to arrange guides and other things here for your stay. 

To explore the park you must have a park or independently registered guide. Most are very knowledgeable on mammals and many know a good deal about birds, but if you want a bird specialist ask first at the office. At Sauraha or at the main gate, independent guides can be hired, they are usually a little more expensive, but if you want a bird specialist (rather than ageneralist park guard) then it is well worth paying a little extra. The guide we used was excellent, he had been a park guard for a long time before deciding he could earn more as a freelance guide, his name is Mayaram, ask any of the park staff, as they will know him, or ask in Sauraha village. 

These are not the only entrances, just the main ones, there are other entrances to the park, which the good guides will know, and they may be better for the target species required. One such entrance is Khagendra Mali, which can be accessed with 4x4 only, from the main road via the villages of Bhandara or Daduwa along dirt tracks and then fording the same river (except here it is much wider). Khagendra Mali is difficult to reach as it is not signed, however the birding at this remote guardhouse is good as it is relatively undisturbed. There is only one lodge in from this entrance; the Chitwan Jungle Lodge. Here we saw Brown Fish Owl and Great Indian Hornbill. Around the lodge gardens we saw Tickell’s Flowerpecker, Black-naped Monarch, Spangled Drongo and the only species new for our guide while with us Orange-headed Ground-Thrush. Between the Chitwan Jungle Lodge and the Sauraha crossing are grass areas where Lesser Florican occurs in late afternoons, though they were seen during our stay we were unlucky. 

Habitats inside the park range from vast areas of elephant grass, to pre-montane and montane forest, with rivers streams and marshes. 

Birding can be combined with looking for the various large mammals, such as Indian Rhino and Tiger. It is fairly safe to look for them on foot with an experienced guide, the rhinos are nearly blind and if they charge the best thing to do is climb a tree or stand very still and look like a tree! Of course this was totally forgotten when we were charged by a rhino from close range when hidden by the elephant grass, and we all ran like hell leaving our brave guide to face the beast with nothing more than a large branch with which to whack it across the head with. Considering one tossed him and broke both his legs a couple of years ago this was impressive. Meanwhile we had to stop running when we reached a stream with 2 Mugger Crocodiles in. Our guide was fortunately unharmed this time and the only thing damaged was an expensive camera lens when one person fell on it. Looking for Tigers on foot is, our guide told us perfectly safe too, he explained they usually totally ignore people if they walk by in the open and do not try to creep up unobserved, but you do have to be wary of Tigers at a kill or with cubs. We were not entirely convinced and though we did hear and smell Tiger in the dense undergrowth near a stream we saw nothing. Elephant rides from Tiger Tops offer a far safer and better chance of seeing Tiger, though this option was denied us as the Clintons were visiting and that end of the park was therefore closed to the public. Perhaps the greatest threat is from the bad tempered Sloth Bears, which attack people for no reason, and Mugger crocodiles are also something to be aware of. 

Species seen 

  • Darter Anhinga melanogaster 20
  • Great Egret Ardea alba CS, KB
  • Little Egret Egretta garzetta 0
  • Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis 0
  • Striated Heron Butorides striata 0
  • Asian Openbill Anastomus oscitans 0
  • Woolly-necked Stork Ciconia episcopus CS
  • Red-naped Ibis Pseudibis papillosa CS, KB
  • Lesser Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna javanica 0
  • Bar-headed Goose Anser indicus BR, KB
  • Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea CS, KB
  • Mallard Anas platyrhynchos BR
  • Osprey Pandion haliaetus CS, KB
  • Black Baza Aviceda leuphotes CS
  • Oriental Honey-buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus CS, CK, P
  • Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus 0
  • Black Kite Milvus migrans 0
  • Lesser Fish-Eagle Ichthyophaga humilis NR 20
  • Gray-headed Fish-Eagle Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus NR 20
  • White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis CR BR
  • Indian Vulture Gyps indicus CR BR, CS
  • Eurasian Griffon Gyps fulvus BR, KB
  • Red-headed Vulture Sarcogyps calvus NR BR, R
  • Crested Serpent-Eagle Spilornis cheela 0
  • Western Marsh-Harrier Circus aeruginosus 0
  • Shikra Accipiter badius 0
  • Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus CS
  • Eurasian Buzzard Buteo buteo BR
  • Upland Buzzard Buteo hemilasius BR
  • Tawny Eagle Aquila rapax BR, K
  • Mountain Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus nipalensis CK
  • Eurasian Kestrel Falco tinnunculus 0
  • Black Francolin Francolinus francolinus CK, P, S
  • Red Junglefowl Gallus gallus CS
  • Indian Peafowl Pavo cristatus CK, CS
  • Brown Crake Amaurornis akool CS
  • Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus 0
  • Eurasian Coot Fulica atra 0
  • Bronze-winged Jacana Metopidius indicus 0
  • River Lapwing Vanellus duvaucelii 0
  • Red-wattled Lapwing Vanellus indicus 0
  • Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius 0
  • Pintail Snipe Gallinago stenura BR, KT
  • Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos 0
  • Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus 0
  • Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia 0
  • Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola 0
  • Rock Pigeon Columba livia 0
  • Oriental Turtle-Dove Streptopelia orientalis 0
  • Eurasian Collared-Dove Streptopelia decaocto 0
  • Red Collared-Dove Streptopelia tranquebarica CS, KB
  • Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis 0
  • Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis 0
  • Yellow-footed Pigeon Treron phoenicopterus CS
  • Alexandrine Parakeet Psittacula eupatria 20, CS
  • Rose-ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri Intro 0
  • Slaty-headed Parakeet Psittacula himalayana CS
  • Plum-headed Parakeet Psittacula cyanocephala 20, CS
  • Large Hawk-Cuckoo Cuculus sparverioides CS
  • Common Hawk-Cuckoo Cuculus varius 0
  • Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus 0
  • Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopaceus CS, KT
  • Lesser Coucal Centropus bengalensis CK, KB, KB
  • Brown Fish-Owl Ketupa zeylonensis CK
  • Asian Barred Owlet Glaucidium cuculoides CS
  • Jungle Owlet Glaucidium radiatum CS
  • Indian Nightjar Caprimulgus asiaticus CS
  • Silver-backed Needletail Hirundapus cochinchinensis 20, CS
  • Little Swift Apus affinis 0
  • Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis CS, KT
  • Stork-billed Kingfisher Pelargopsis capensis 0
  • White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis 0
  • Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis 0
  • Green Bee-eater Merops orientalis 0
  • Blue-tailed Bee-eater Merops philippinus 0
  • Chestnut-headed Bee-eater Merops leschenaulti CS
  • Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis 0
  • Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis CS
  • Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops 0
  • Great Hornbill Buceros bicornis NT CK
  • Blue-throated Barbet Megalaima asiatica BR, P
  • Grey-capped Woodpecker Dendrocopos canicapillus CS
  • Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker Dendrocopos macei CS, CK
  • Greater Yellownape Picus flavinucha CS
  • Streak-throated Woodpecker Picus xanthopygaeus 20
  • Scaly-bellied Woodpecker Picus squamatus 20
  • Gray-faced Woodpecker Picus canus CK, CS, N
  • Black-rumped Flameback Dinopium benghalense CS
  • Bengal Bushlark Mirafra assamica CS
  • Ashy-crowned Sparrow-Lark Eremopterix griseus CS, R, KB
  • Pale Sand Martin Riparia diluta 0
  • Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica 0
  • Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica 0
  • Oriental Pipit Anthus rufulus 0
  • Rosy Pipit Anthus roseatus 0
  • Olive-backed Pipit Anthus hodgsoni 0
  • White Wagtail Motacilla alba 0
  • White-browed Wagtail Motacilla madaraspatensis 0
  • Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola 0
  • Gray Wagtail Motacilla cinerea 0
  • Large Cuckoo-shrike Coracina macei CK, CS
  • Black-winged Cuckoo-shrike Coracina melaschistos CK
  • Black-headed Cuckoo-shrike Coracina melanoptera CS
  • Small Minivet Pericrocotus cinnamomeus CS
  • Long-tailed Minivet Pericrocotus ethologus 0
  • Scarlet Minivet Pericrocotus flammeus CS
  • Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus picatus CK
  • Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus melanicterus CK
  • Red-whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus CS, KB
  • White-cheeked Bulbul Pycnonotus leucogenys 0
  • Red-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer 0
  • Black Bulbul Hypsipetes leucocephalus 0
  • Golden-fronted Leafbird Chloropsis aurifrons CK
  • Orange-bellied Leafbird Chloropsis hardwickii CK, P
  • Common Iora Aegithina tiphia CS, KT
  • Blue Whistling-Thrush Myophonus caeruleus 0
  • Orange-headed Thrush Zoothera citrina CK
  • Tickell's Thrush Turdus unicolor CK
  • Dark-throated Thrush Turdus ruficollis BR, CK, CS, KT
  • Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis CS
  • Grey-breasted Prinia Prinia hodgsonii 20, CS
  • Plain Prinia Prinia inornata 20, CS
  • Common Tailorbird Orthotomus sutorius 0
  • Dusky Warbler Phylloscopus fuscatus 20, KB, KT
  • Smoky Warbler Phylloscopus fuligiventer 20, KB
  • Greenish Warbler Phylloscopus trochiloides CK, CS, P
  • Asian Brown Flycatcher Muscicapa dauurica CS, P, S
  • Rusty-tailed Flycatcher Muscicapa ruficauda BR
  • Red-breasted Flycatcher Ficedula parva CS, KT, P
  • Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher Culicicapa ceylonensis 0
  • Bluethroat Luscinia svecica BR, KT, KB
  • Oriental Magpie-Robin Copsychus saularis 0
  • White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus CS, CK
  • Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros 0
  • White-capped Redstart Chaimarrornis leucocephalus BR
  • European Stonechat Saxicola torquata 0
  • Pied Bushchat Saxicola caprata 0
  • White-throated Fantail Rhipidura albicollis CS, P
  • Black-naped Monarch Hypothymis azurea CK
  • Asian Paradise-Flycatcher Terpsiphone paradisi CK, CS
  • Puff-throated Babbler Pellorneum ruficeps CS, CK
  • Striped Tit-Babbler Macronous gularis CS, CK
  • Chestnut-capped Babbler Timalia pileata CS
  • Jungle Babbler Turdoides striata 0
  • Silver-eared Mesia Leiothrix argentauris CK
  • Great Tit Parus major CK, CS, P
  • Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch Sitta castanea 0
  • Kashmir Nuthatch Sitta cashmirensis CS, S
  • Velvet-fronted Nuthatch Sitta frontalis CK
  • Eastern Crimson Sunbird Aethopyga siparaja CK, S
  • Oriental White-eye Zosterops palpebrosus CK, P
  • Black-hooded Oriole Oriolus xanthornus CK, CS, KT
  • Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus BR, KT, P
  • Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach BR, CS, P
  • Large Woodshrike Tephrodornis gularis CK, CS
  • Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus 0
  • Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus BR, CK, P
  • White-bellied Drongo Dicrurus caerulescens 20, CS
  • Crow-billed Drongo Dicrurus annectans CS
  • Hair-crested Drongo Dicrurus hottentottus 20, CK
  • Ashy Woodswallow Artamus fuscus CS, KB
  • Rufous Treepie Dendrocitta vagabunda 20, CS, P
  • House Crow Corvus splendens 0
  • Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos 0
  • Spot-winged Starling Saroglossa spiloptera CS
  • Common Hill Myna Gracula religiosa CK
  • Jungle Myna Acridotheres fuscus 0
  • Bank Myna Acridotheres ginginianus BR, KB
  • Common Myna Acridotheres tristis 0
  • Asian Pied Starling Gracupica contra 0
  • Chestnut-tailed Starling Sturnia malabarica CK, CS
  • House Sparrow Passer domesticus 0
  • Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus 0
  • Chestnut-shouldered Petronia Petronia xanthocollis CK
  • Baya Weaver Ploceus philippinus CS
  • Red Avadavat Amandava amandava BR


  • KEY
  • CR = Critical
  • E = Endangered
  • V = Vulnerable
  • NT = Near-threatened
  • e = endemic
  • intro = introduced


  • 0 = no sites given for common species
  • BR = Bagmati River
  • CS = Chitwan (Sauraha)
  • CK = Chitwan (Khagendra Mali)
  • G = Godaveri Gardens
  • KB = Kosi Barrage
  • KT = Kosi Tappu
  • K = Kathmandu
  • N = Najarjung
  • P = Pulchowki
  • R = road Kathmandu to Kosi
  • S = Shepuri
  • 20 = 20000 Lakes


We also saw Indian One-horned Rhino Rhinoceros unicornis Sloth Bear Melursus ursinus Black-naped Hare Lepus nigricollis Indian Porcupine Hystrix indica Rhesus Macaque Macaca mulattaCommon Langur Presbytis entellus Hoary-bellied Himalayan Squirrel Callosciurus pygerythrusMongoose Herpestes edwardsi Water Buffalo Bubalus bubalis Wild Boar Sus scrofa MuntjacMuntiacus muntjak Spotted Deer Axis axis and Yellow-throated Marten Martes flavigula we also heard and smelt Tiger Panthera tigris very close in dense bushes by a stream. 

Reptiles included Mugger Crocodylus palustris and the rare and threatened Gharial Gavialis gangeticus 

Butterflies seen in Nepal (not just here) were: Indian Tortoiseshell Aglais cashmirensis aesisIndian Red Admiral Vanessa indica Painted Lady Vanessa cardui Pale Grassblue Zizeeria maha maha Pale clouded Yellow Colias erate lativitta Glassy Bluebottle Graphium cloanthus cloanthusGreat Zebra Graphium xenocles phrontis Lime Swallowtail Papilio demoleus demoleus BrimstoneGonepteryx rhamni nepalensis Common Red Flash Rapala iarbus Glassy Tiger Parantica aglea melanoides Common Sailor Neptis hylas kamarupa Blue Admiral Kaniska canace canace Palin Tiger Danaus chrysippus chrysippus Common Indian Crow Euploea core core Tabby Pseudergolis wedah Common Windmill Atrophaneura polyeuctes letincius Lilacfork Zophoessa sura and White Royal Tajuria illurgis 

Author: BSG, Geof Grafton 

www.birdingsiteguide.com